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Occurrence patterns of black water and its impact on fish in cutover areas of Eucalyptus plantations

Yang, Gairen, Wen, Meijun, Deng, Yusong, Su, Xiaolin, Jiang, Daihua, Wang, Guan, Chen, Youwen, Chen, Guijin, Yu, Sufang
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.693 pp. 133393
Cunninghamia lanceolata, Eucalyptus, Pinus massoniana, absorbance, acidity, ammonium nitrogen, chemical oxygen demand, color, death, dissolved organic matter, dissolved oxygen, dry season, environmental hazards, environmental impact, fish, iron, leaves, light intensity, logging, nitrate nitrogen, phosphorus, plantations, ponds, rain, rivers, runoff, streams, tannins
Black runoff occasionally flows from cutover areas of Eucalyptus plantations, polluting rivers and ponds, and resulting in fish death in severe cases. However, the occurrence patterns and environmental impacts of this black water remain unclear. Herein, we analyzed the major characteristics of black water at the occurrence sites, tested the complexation reaction of ground eucalyptus leaves with a solution of Fe3+, and determined the color and absorbance of the complex solution. The results showed that the water was dark blue, with weak acidity and strong light absorbance. The water contained a high level of dissolved organic matter content, while its chemical oxygen demand, total N, total P, NO3−-N, and NH4+-N concentrations were significantly higher than those in the stream water from Eucalyptus, Pinus massoniana Lamb., and Cunninghamia lanceolata stands during the growth period. Additionally, the tannic acid concentration in the black water was 1.0 mg L−1 higher than that in the stream water from the Eucalyptus stand. The input of black water increases the concentration of tannic acid and NH4+-N, and the degradation of organic matter consumes dissolved oxygen in downstream ponds, leading to fish deaths. The presence of fresh logging residues and hot, humid weather also enable black water formation. Field investigations and simulation experiments revealed fresh Eucalyptus residues decompose rapidly under high-temperature and rainfall conditions, releasing large amounts of tannic acid, which reacts with Fe3+ to form a dark blue tannic acid‑iron complex and results in black water. These results indicate that the rich Fe3+ in runoff may be a key factor in the occurrence of black water. The logging of Eucalyptus plantations during the dry season or on non-rainy days and a reduction in the logging area could prevent the occurrence of black water or mitigate the extent of its environmental hazards.